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Questions tagged [mathematics-social-history]

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4 votes
1 answer
137 views

Is it true that Aryabhata explicitly understood or stated the irrationality of $\pi$?

It is well known that Aryabhata, the prominent Indian mathematician and astronomer of the 5th century CE, made significant contributions to mathematics, including approximations of $\pi$ (pi). In his ...
0 votes
5 answers
440 views

Looking for math history but keep finding the same old stuff

I've browsed many math history books, but I've never read too deep into any single one. I always find myself reading the about the same facts and same people over and over -- the set of topics doesn't ...
8 votes
1 answer
360 views

What did the study plan of an early 20th century mathematics undergraduate program look like?

I am interested in what subjects and activities mathematics undergrads were involved in the beginning of the 20th century. Most subjects mathematics majors study at an intermediate and advanced level ...
4 votes
0 answers
195 views

How and why was catastrophe theory brought to its knees?

How applications of catastrophe theory outside mathematics stalled the theory, and why? I know that the theory had its fair share of popularity during the 1970s, with many distinguished mathematicians ...
1 vote
1 answer
74 views

Which people are considered to be the founders of Projective Geometry?

What were the fundamental principles and ideas of projective geometry that made people consider it groundbreaking and separates it from the rest of the geometry? I would love to learn about a good ...
0 votes
1 answer
2k views

Leonhard Euler's Mathematical Proof of God [closed]

There is a famous legend inspired by Euler's arguments with secular philosophers over religion, which is set during Euler's second stint at the St. Petersburg Academy. The French philosopher Denis ...
3 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is there evidence that Gödel said "phoned with God"?

Wolfgang Rautenberg wrote in "A Concise Introduction to Mathematical Logic" that Kurt Gödel, to show that finite sequences from ℕ can be coded and manipulated by purely arithmetical formulae,...
0 votes
0 answers
39 views

De Branges's theorem and perspective on Sheaf theory

As far as I know, there is an intuitive and easy way to think about sheaf theory through the Taylor series. For example, in the case of stalk, which is one of the important concepts in sheaf, we can ...
2 votes
1 answer
156 views

The reason why sheaf theory emerged

Motivation: In any history, there is a cause-and-effect relationship. So I became curious about the situation in which the sheaf theory came to appear. In other words, I'm curious about what problem ...
2 votes
1 answer
208 views

Did Fibonacci not grasp the idea of zero?

Indian mathematicians (e.g., Brahmagupta in the 6th century) developed the idea of 0 as more than a placeholder. In 1202, Fibonacci wrote "These are the nine figures of the Indians: 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 ...
0 votes
0 answers
64 views

Group theory in non-European/subaltern cultures?

I'm doing undergraduate research on the history of abstract algebra (specifically permutation groups) and the notion of symmetric groups in indigenous artwork has come up several times. Is anyone ...
0 votes
0 answers
211 views

Motivation of Puiseux's Riemann surface and Galois group theory

If you look at Felix Klein's "Development of mathematics in the 19th century", it says that Puiseux developed the Riemann surface theory to show the connection between the two Galois groups. ...
0 votes
0 answers
79 views

Who made the first (recorded) axiomatic model of nature?

Neil Degrasse Tyson has claimed that, via his Principia, Isaac Newton was the first person (on record) to make a "modern" theory of physics, in the sense that Newton made an axiomatic ...
2 votes
1 answer
237 views

Who is the Dottie number named after?

I have learned about the Dottie number, though I am unsure to whom it is attributed to and why it is named as so.
5 votes
1 answer
162 views

How did the concept of local field emerge and develop in mathematics?

When I was studying class field theory, I saw local class field theory. However, I suddenly became curious about local fields, not local class field theory. As far as I know, the local field is the ...
1 vote
0 answers
82 views

What are Weber class field's weak points?

These days, I'm interested in class field theory. I know that Weber first made his own 'class field' and then Hilbert made his own field, 'Hilbert class field'. By the way, were there so many weak ...
1 vote
0 answers
169 views

Motivation of Monge-Ampere equation

I have a question about Monge-Ampere equation. I read a book The shape of inner space by Shing-Tung Yau. Chapter 5 in this book, Complex-Monge-Ampere equation's explaination was so interesting. In the ...
12 votes
2 answers
1k views

How many important logicians did NOT receive doctoral degrees?

I can think of three. Saul Kripke quite famously could only be begrudged to finish his undergraduate degree at Harvard before being hired as a full professor. Donald Martin (the set theorist of Martin'...
7 votes
1 answer
938 views

What is the earliest mention of doubling grains on a chessboard story?

This is a story that seems to be an obligatory mention in either sequence and series lessons or exponential functions and today I've decided to track down the transmission of this story. it goes like ...
10 votes
17 answers
5k views

Mathematicians who wrote fiction

Who among professional mathematicians are also known as fiction writers? I know Omar Khayyam (11-12 century), and two more recent ones: Sofya Kovalevskaya and Michele Audin. For the purposes of this ...
1 vote
1 answer
46 views

What is the earliest paper in which graph vertex connectivity is denoted by the Greek letter $\kappa$?

I'm wondering how far back this notation goes. Thank you for your consideration.
3 votes
1 answer
366 views

Is there a theorem proof whose accuracy is doubted because it is short?

Is there a theorem proof whose accuracy is doubted because it is short? He told me while chatting with a friend of mine. It's about a mathematician who proves a difficult theorem very briefly and ...
0 votes
1 answer
184 views

Cauchy Integral Formula who opened? [closed]

Cauchy Integral Formula who actually proved it? The teacher asked the following task: who actually discovered this integral formula? need historical background, but it's not Cauchy! Help!
24 votes
1 answer
3k views

Euler: “A baby on his lap, a cat on his back — that’s how he wrote his immortal works” (origin?)

Euler was a non-confrontational and deeply religious person. He was kind and could get on well with anyone. He worked under any circumstances and in any environment: “A baby on his lap, a cat on his ...
0 votes
0 answers
132 views

Source of a quote and a story

I read a story and a quote few years ago on a mathematical community in my country and today I just suddenly reminiscend of and want to know whether they are real or not and if it is the former case ...
16 votes
7 answers
4k views

Mathematical results that became known long after their authors passed away

Liouville published Galois' work a decade after the death of this singular mathematician. Are there other cases of results being rescued by the mathematical community long after their authors were ...
6 votes
3 answers
328 views

When did bounties and prize money for open mathematical problems start being a thing?

I'm a science/math journalist [ger] and currently I'm working on an article about the culture of prize money/bounties for solving open mathematical problems (Millennium Prize Problems and such). One ...
10 votes
2 answers
244 views

Publication of mathematical papers in journals of enemy country

I restrict my question to mathematics since this is probably the most internationalized of all sciences. During WWII, did any British mathematicians (or mathematicians from allied countries) publish ...
2 votes
2 answers
293 views

Omar Khayyam is well known as a mystical poet (Quatrains). He is also known as a mathematician. Are these the same?

Omar Khayyam is well known as a mystical poet (his famous Quatrains). He is also somehow known as a mathematician (Equations of degree 3 ?). Are these the same person? A colleague in Arithmetical and ...
6 votes
2 answers
303 views

What's the history of "left as exercise" or notions similar to that?

It is now common to come across the term "left as exercise" in mathematics textbooks, and from there a comical usage of such terms was developed, typically by applying them to absurdly ...
2 votes
1 answer
437 views

Non-Euclidean geometry: motivations to develop it at the times of Gauss?

I'm making a historical research on the origins of differential geometry, starting with non-Euclidean geometry introduced by Gauss. Reading different historical accounts, what I don't understand is ...
3 votes
0 answers
170 views

Were there women inside Bourbaki?

Bourbaki was founded around 1934, they have a limit age of fifty and many mathematicians have passed through it. According to an interview with Chevalley no women have belonged to the group up to 1985....
1 vote
0 answers
125 views

Examples of math problems which exhibited deceptive progress

I'm interested in gathering a list of problems in the history of maths where people were committed to a particular strategy for some time, only to find out that the approach was fundamentally flawed. ...
17 votes
1 answer
1k views

Does Arnold say that Hardy is responsible for Ramanujan's untimely death?

In Yesterday and Long Ago (2007), mathematician Vladimir Arnold wrote: When I resided at Cambridge as a senior fellow of Trinity College,Indian colleagues told me some details of Ramanujan's ...
11 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is the origin of the negation ( ¬ ) operator from logic?

I'm curious as to what the rationale was, and who the idea occurred to, for the ¬ symbol. I'll grant that more common mathematical symbols like +, −, × and ÷ are also likely unknown, but they seem to ...
1 vote
1 answer
137 views

Did Rene Descartes send or receive any letters (regarding mathematics) on 18.v.1638 (May 18, 1638)?

I dreamed about the date 18.v.1638 (May 18, 1638) last night. As I currently do research on odd perfect numbers, and because Rene Descartes lived during the years 1596 to 1650, and as I am not a math ...
1 vote
1 answer
274 views

Einstein's contribution to Mathematics?

What contribution to mathematics did Einstein make, or was he only interested in Physics and derived formulas using mathematics?
0 votes
0 answers
376 views

Erdos use of amphetamines to stimulate his creativity

What was the dosage of amphetamines that Erdos was taking? Was it a constant dose or did it increase over time? Had he ever been diagnosed as suffering from ADD?
3 votes
1 answer
121 views

Examples of mathematical definitions motivated by engineering problems

I'm interested in the development of mathematical definitions for the sake of engineering, and what makes a particular definition better suited for a problem than another in any particular context. ...
0 votes
2 answers
109 views

Simultaneous independent or semi-independent solutions to problems

This is a request for help (with examples, as described below) with a talk I giving to graduate students regarding the dynamics of mathematical research among mathematicians and the development of key ...
0 votes
0 answers
496 views

Is there any relation between strabismus and mathematical or scientific ability?

By looking at the portraits of prominent mathematicians and scientists of the previous centuries it seems like they have a higher incidence of strabismus than the general population of today. Are ...
0 votes
1 answer
159 views

Did thinkers we now regard as mathematicians call themselves philosophers prior to the 19th century?

Recently, a teacher of mine stated that, since the institutional division between philosophy and other fields of academic enquiry, especially the natural sciences, happened somewhere along the 19th ...
2 votes
1 answer
269 views

The abstraction of mathematics from physics

When and how did mathematics come to be abstracted away from the physical world? At first, mathematics would originate in its simplest form of counting and addition as to keep track of certain ...
8 votes
0 answers
1k views

About the LOR of John Nash, was there any relationship between Richard Duffin and Solomon Lefschetz?

In Academia SE, there is a question about the credibility of Prof. Richard Duffin, who wrote the notorious letter of recommendation for John Nash, who later received the Nobel Memorial Prize in ...
3 votes
1 answer
525 views

Grothendieck and Fields medal 1962

We can read as a mathunion excerpt that Grothendieck won the Fields medal in 1966 Built on work of Weil and Zariski and effected fundamental advances in algebraic geometry. He introduced the idea of ...
0 votes
0 answers
64 views

Are there examples of mathematical systems that reflect the worldview of the culture they are from?

By this I mean, are there systems of numbers, counting, sorting.. or even higher level mathematical concepts that reflect a culture's worldview? Did some cultures not develop certain math concepts ...
5 votes
0 answers
373 views

Who proved Rank Nullity Theorem?

I have been learning about the Rank Nullity theorem and was trying to understand Who came up with the rank nullity theorem? While i did look up on the internet i came up with almost no answers. Some ...
6 votes
1 answer
195 views

Literary Movements in Math Writing

I am wondering if there is some analog for literary movements in writing (e.g., romanticism/post-modernism) for mathematics or the sciences as a whole. I would think there would be similarly large ...
0 votes
1 answer
83 views

"Political Events" in the Preface to the Second Edition of Spivak's Comprehensive Introduction Volume 2

In the Preface to the second edition to Spivak's A Comprehensive Introduction to Differential Geometry, Vol. 2, on p.vii says: The material in this Volume covers about what I would have completed in ...
5 votes
0 answers
220 views

Why are there relatively many Eastern European (specifically Hungarian) graph theorists?

I noticed that a large number of theories within graph theory are from Eastern European graph theorists, specifically Hungarian graph theorists. What is the relation between Eastern Europe (...